SA Army Signal Formation Lead the Way on Arbor Day, 3 September 2010

Article and Photo by Major Lizette Lombard, SO2 Corporate Communication Signal Formation
Arbor Day Info: Google Search “South African Arbor Day”

3 September 2010, SA Army Signal Formation HQ, led the way on Arbor Day, by planting the 2010 National Tree, the “Fever Tree”, in front of the Signal Formation Main Building. The various sections of the HQ, each got their own Fever Tree to plant.

After an opening speech, wherein he stressed the importance of Arbor Day, acting General Officer Commanding, Colonel M.P. Shashape, ceremoniously took the first shovel of dirt and started the planting of the trees.

FLTR: Chief Warrant Officer E. Kahn (Formation Sergeant Major SA Army Signal Formation) and Colonel M.P. Shashape, (Acting General Officer Commanding SA Army Signal Formation)


















Major L. Lombard, SO2 Corporate Communication, read a short history on Arbor Day, to all the Signal Formation HQ members, who took part in this “greening” event.

Arbor Day originated in 1872, in the US territory of Nebraska. Mr J. Sterling Morton, a newcomer to the treeless plains of Nebraska, was a keen proponent of the beauty and benefit of trees. He persuaded the local agricultural board to set aside a day for planting trees and through his position as editor of Nebraska’s 1st newspaper, encouraged participation in the event, by publishing articles on the value of trees for soil protection, fruit, shade and building. Mr Morton’s home, known as Arbor Lodge, was a testament to his love for trees and so inspired the name of the holiday; Arbor Day.

Within two decades, Arbor Day was celebrated in every US State and territory, and eventually spread around the world. The tradition continues annually in the second week of August, in global acknowledgement of Mr Morton’s slogan “other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future”.

In South Africa, Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1983. The event captured the imagination of people who recognised the need for raising awareness of the value of trees in our society. As sources of building material, food, medicine, and simple scenic beauty, trees play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of our communities. Collective enthusiasm for the importance of this issue in South Africa inspired the national government, in 1999, to extend the celebration of Arbor Day to National Arbor Week. From 1 to 7 September every year, schools, businesses and organisations are encouraged to participate in community “greening” events to improve the health and beauty of the local environment and propose a green future for South Africa. This year’s tree is the “Fever Tree” (English), “Koorsboom” (Afrikaans), “Acacia xanthophloea” (Scientific name), “Mooka-kwena” (Northern-Sotho), umHlosinga (Zulu), nkelenga (Tsonga), munzhelenga (Venda). This attractive tree can grow to 15 – 25 meters tall, with an open, rounded to spreading or flattish crown which is sparsely foliated. The tree can be found from Kenya in the north to KwaZulu Natal in the south. It’s a prominent feature in the lowveld region of SA.

It’s up to us human beings to save our environment, so why not “lead the way every day” and not just on Arbor Day.